The delays in the issuing of the Initial Public Offer (IPO) of Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited (BTCL) shares to the public are justified, according to the legal advisors of the process.
Rizwan Desai, Senior partner at renowned law firm Collins and Newman, who are the legal advisors of the IPO issue, says the sale of national asset such as BTCL is of grave concern and there are many technical processes to follow.
Rizwan Desai, Senior partner at renown law firm Collins and Newman and Co. told a stakeholders workshop last week, organized by Public Enterprises Evaluation and Privatisation Agency (PEEPA), that the postponements of the issuing of the IPO was due to necessity to handle all due processes.
“One thing that has not been clear enough is that BTCL is not a small start-up; it is an arduous task to sell of a national asset and it has taken the necessary time to ensure that all the preparatory work is done,” said Desai.
Desai pointed out that the Corporation operates in a highly regulated environment and other stakeholders include international suppliers and contract holders, as well as the formal processes that need to be followed, such as the Companies Act requirements.
Though Desai was not at liberty to specify the approvals being sought from various authorities such as the Botswana Stock Exchange and the Ministry of Transport and Communications, he indicated that such approvals are currently being processed, and will the IPO to be issued by the date of 31 December 2014.
The Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited shares did not go on sale on November 7th as planned.
The Ministry had intended to launch the IPO on 7th November but this has since been postponed to an unspecified date but not later than 31, December, 2014. Furthermore, as an added measure, the period of offer will also be open for a period of up to 8 weeks.
The launch of the IPO had initially been slated for August 2014 but was moved to November 7. This postponement comes after the initial postponement from the August 2014 to November 7 date, that was initially set for the listing of the BTCL shares.
The decision to further postpone the IPO date to 31 December 2014 came after prospective buyers, at various awareness Pitso held across the country recently, including major centres like Francistown and Gaborone, expressed their need for more time to mobilise funds to buy into the Company.
Desai said that the question of whether or not December is an ideal time to issuing the IPO is constantly being reviewed and that due considerations will be taken.
The Corporation said in a statement, explaining the delay that: “Two key issues, however, have been raised repeatedly in these fora which we believe we need to address. Firstly, the audiences, especially amongst the individual citizens, indicated that they had limited understanding of an IPO as well as how one can participate and benefit from it. Secondly, they requested for ample time to organise funding that they would use to purchase the shares with, in essence, that the current IPO date was too close.”
Desai admitted that with all considerations, the dates that were issued as the IPO were ‘too ambitious.’
The sale of the BTCL shares has been touted as a great investment instrument open to citizens, by BTCL chief executive Paul Taylor.
The Initial Public Offering (IPO) will see Government offering 49 percent of the shares on the BSE of which five percent has been reserved for BTCL employees through an Employee Share Ownership Programme (ESOP). Government will retain the remaining 51 percent. Citizens who buys and hold shares for foreigners stand to lose their investment amount if discovered by the Corporation.
BusinessPost understands that fronting by Botswana nationals for non citizens, is a possibility, even as the shares are reserved firstly for citizen individuals, then for institutional investors, which might include non citizens.
Desai pointed out that the monitoring of citizen investment will occur through gate keeping processes at the constitution of the corporation, at the stage were transfer secretaries handle the transactions, as well as at the stage were dividends are declared. Those who front for non-citizens stand to lose their investments, Desai said.
In the financial year 2012/13, BTCL revenues surged past the billion pula mark to stand at P 1.375 billion compared to P 1.187 billion recorded in the 2011/12 financial period.
Profit before tax increased by 20 percent from P237 million recorded in 2011/12 to P284 million in 2012/13 with net profit margin growing to 21 percent from 20 percent in the previous year.
The IPO will come with a prospectus that entails the price as well as the story of the IPO journey, as well as an ‘independent review of the numbers’ by financial advisors Deloitte, a global financial services firm.
Desai also clarified the 5 percent of the shares that are reserved for employees are held in a trust, saying BTCL employees are entitled only to dividends declared and do not own these shares. The employees forfeit these dividends when they leave the company’s employ. However, employees are also entitled to buy the BSE listed shares and enjoy ownership of BTCL shares.
Newly established wholly indigenous citizen owned retail chain Payless Retail (PTY) Ltd is set to partake in the first session of Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE)’s Tshipidi Mentorship Program (TMP) on Monday June 29th.
The TMP aims to train and capacitate SMEs so they can operate as corporates and eventually list on the local bourse. According to local bourse, BSE, the program aims to provide practical training to potential issuers through a comprehensive and interactive program that covers the key themes necessary to position a company to list on the BSE.
Payless Retail is a newly established supermarket chain whose mission is to become a convenient one-stop shopping destination as it is one of the Botswana oldest retailing brands. It started off as Corner Supermarket in January 1976, and to date boasts of nine stores in, among others, Gaborone, Mochudi, Molepolole and Tlokweng. Payless was recently acquired by Ellis Retail Group, which is led by businessman Elliot Moshoke.
The takeover catapulted Ellis Retail to the envious position of being the first wholly indigenous owned major retail chain. “We jumped at this opportunity because it gave us a chance to prove to Batswana that the retail business is open and lucrative.”
The objective is to create a proudly Botswana retail chain that fully supports our national Vision, economic development and citizen economic empowerment ambitions,” Moshoke told BusinessPost.
He further emphasized that Batswana are capable and able to run large scale businesses hence they need to accept invite foreign investors who will come in to support us not take the business. “Our win as Payless in the Fast Moving Consumer goods (FMCG) industry is a win for Batswana. We need their support in this difficult and challenging journey.
As you are aware, Payless is the only retail chain in the hands of Batswana ba Sekei. We need to take advantage of this to generate employment and create small businesses in retail and Agri businesses,” he explained.
The retailer has also partnered with Botswana Investment & Trade Center (BITC) on their #PushaBW campaign with a view to initiating earnest engagement with local producers to iron out bottlenecks and ensure seamless trading.
“Local producers have to be part of the phenomenal growth of the Payless brand. This will in turn facilitate employment creation and economic growth. We did this because we have the utmost respect for local manufacturers and producers,” he mentioned.
Payless is currently restocking all of its stores; a development that Moshoke says is testament to the retailer’s commitment to growing the brand and ensuring continuity of business. He further revealed that renowned retail suppliers like PST and CA Sales have reignited their trust in Payless, opening their doors for Payless as they have faith in the retailer’s new owners.
The takeover has reportedly saved more than 200 jobs and gave a new lease of life to the previously fledging Payless brand. According to a press release from the management team, the Payless work forces are also extremely excited about what the future holds. The TMP is a comprehensive and interactive program that covers the key themes necessary to position a company to list on the BSE.
The program is administered by experts within the listing ecosystem and seeks to bring the potential issuers closer to the listings advisers, investors and leaders of already listed companies. “As a strategic initiative, the BSE decided to set up this mentorship program in a bid to assist SMEs to strategize, corporatize and acclimatize in order to list to access equity finance and expand operations,” said the BSE.
The TMP will avail to SMEs practical insights, knowledge and feedback from institutional investors, increased awareness of the BSE listing requirements as well as an intimate network of advisors and CEOs of listed companies. After training, Payless will graduate with improve governance structures and better knowledge of articulating its business strategy. The retailer will also gain increased visibility through BSE marketing platforms.
Despite Covid-19 interrupting trade worldwide, exporting companies in Botswana which benefited from the Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) services realised P2.96 billion in export earnings during the period from April 2020 to March 2021.
In the preceding financial year, the sale of locally manufactured products in foreign markets had registered export revenue of P2, 427 billion against a target of P3, 211 billion BITC, which celebrates 10 years since establishment, continues to carry out several initiatives targeted towards expanding the Botswana export base in line with Botswana’s desire to be an export led economy, underpinned by a robust export promotion programme in line with the National Export Strategy.
The main products exported were swamp cruiser boats, pvc tanks and pvc pipes, ignition wiring sets, semi-precious stones, veterinary medicines, hair braids, coal, textiles (towels and t-shirts) and automobile batteries. These goods were destined mainly for South Africa, Zimbabwe, Austria, Germany, and Namibia.
With Covid-19 still a problem, BITC continues to roll out targeted virtual trade promotion missions across the SADC region with a view to seeking long-lasting market opportunities for locally manufactured products.
Recently, the Centre facilitated participation for Botswana companies at the Eastern Cape Development Council (ECDC) Virtual Export Symposium, the Botswana-Zimbabwe Virtual Trade Mission, the Botswana-Zambia Virtual Trade Mission, Botswana-South Africa Virtual Buyer/Seller Mission as well as the Botswana-Namibia Virtual Trade Mission.
BITC has introduced an e-Exporting programme aimed at assisting Botswana exporters to conduct business on several recommended e-commerce platforms. Due to the advent of COVID-19, BITC is currently promoting e-trade among companies through the establishment of e-commerce platforms and is assisting local companies to embrace digitisation by adopting e-commerce platforms to reach export markets as well as assisting local e-commerce platform developers to scale up their online marketplaces.
During the 2019/2020 financial year, BITC embarked on several initiatives targeted at growing exports in the country; facilitation of participation of local companies in international trade platforms in order to enhance export sales of local products and services into external markets.
BITC also helped in capacity development of local companies to compete in global markets and the nurturing of export awareness and culture among local manufacturers in order to enhance their skills and knowledge of export processes; and in development and implementation of trade facilitation tools that look to improve the overall ease of doing business in Botswana.
As part of building export capacity in 2019/20, six (6) companies were selected to initiate a process to be Organic and Fair Trade Certified. These companies are; Blue Pride (Pty) Ltd, Motlopi Beverages, Moringa Technology Industries (Pty) Ltd, Sleek Foods, Maungo Craft and Divine Morula.
In 2019 seven companies which were enrolled in the Botswana Exporter Development Programme were capacitated with attaining BOBS ISO 9001: 2015 certification. Three (3) companies successfully attained BOBS ISO 9001:2015 certification. These were Lithoflex (Pty) Ltd, General Packaging Industries and Power Engineering.
BITC’s annual flagship exhibition, Global Expo Botswana (GEB) to create opportunities for trade and strategic synergies between local and international companies. The Global Expo Botswana) is a premier business to business exposition that attracts FDI, expansion of domestic investment, promotion of exports of locally produced goods and services and promotion of trade between Botswana and other countries.
The portal also provides information on; measures, legal documents, and forms and procedures needed by Botswana companies that intend on doing business abroad. BITC continues to assist both potential and existing local manufacturing and service entities to realise their export ambitions. This assistance is pursued through the ambit of the Botswana Exporter Development Programme (BEDP) and the Trade Promotion Programme.
BEDP was revised in 2020 in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with a vision to developing a diversified export-based economy. The programme focuses mostly on capacitating companies to reach export readiness status.
Prices for goods and services in this country continue to increase, with the latest figures from Statistics Botswana showing that in May 2022, inflation rate rose to 11.9 percent from 9.6 percent recorded in April 2022.
According to Statistics Botswana update released this week, the largest upward contributions to the annual inflation rate in May 2022 came from increase in the cost of transport (7.2 percent), housing, water, electricity, gas & other Fuels (1.4 percent), food & non-alcoholic beverages (1.1 percent) and miscellaneous goods & services (0.8 percent).
With regard to regional inflation rates between April and May 2022, the Rural Villages inflation rate went up by 2.5 percentage points, from 9.6 percent in April to 12.1 percent in May 2022, according to the government owned statistics entity.
In the monthly update the entity stated that the Urban Villages inflation rate stood at 11.8 percent in May 2022, a rise of 2.4 percentage points from the April rate of 9.4 percent, whereas the Cities & Towns inflation rate recorded an increase of 1.9 percentage points, from 9.9 percent in April to 11.8 percent in May.
Commenting on the national Consumer Price Index, the entity stated that it went up by 2.6 percent, from 120.1 in April to 123.2 in May 2022. Statisticians from the entity noted that the transport group index registered an increase of 7.3 percent, from 134.5 in April to 144.2 in May, mainly due to the rise in retail pump prices for petrol and diesel by P1.54 and P2.74 per litre respectively, which effected on the 13th of May 2022.
The food & non-alcoholic beverages group index rose by 2.6 percent, from 118.6 in April 2022 to 121.6 in May 2022 and this came as a result of increase in prices of oils & fats, vegetables, bread & cereal, mineral waters, soft drinks, fruits & vegetables juices, fish (Fresh, Chilled & Frozen) and meat (Fresh, Chilled & Frozen), according to the Statisticians.
The Statisticians said the furnishing, household equipment & routine maintenance group index rose by 1.0 percent, from 111.6 in April 2022 to 112.7 in May 2022 and this was attributed to a general increase in prices of household appliances, glassware, tableware & household utensils and goods & services for household maintenance.
The prices for clothing & footwear group index moved from 109.4 to 110.4, registering a rise of 0.9 percent during the period under review. Bank of Botswana has projected higher inflation in the short term, associated with the likelihood of further increases in domestic fuel prices in response to persistent high international oil prices and added that the possible increase in public service salaries could add also upward pressure to inflation in this country.